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Thermal activity at the surface of a volcano is evidence of volcanic heat below. The fumarolic activity seen here produces vigorous steam plumes along the sulfur-encrusted wall of the summit crater at El Salvador's Santa Ana volcano. Thermal activity is common during non-eruptive periods at many volcanoes and may persist for many thousands of years. In addition to the fumarolic activity in this photo, the interaction of high-temperature volcanic fluids and gases with groundwater in hydrothermal fields can produce geysers, hot-spring pools, and mudpots.